New 40 under Forty Chair
Sara Nelms, 40 Under Forty chairperson.
Sara Nelms creates memorable experience for nominees
She’s yet to be a 40 Under Forty nominee. But at age 32, Sara Nelms has time on her side.
In the meantime, Nelms – chairperson of this year’s 40 Under Forty Awards Gala – wants to ensure the nominees are treated to a night worthy of their accomplishments.
“It’s such a special time for them,” said Nelms. “We get to highlight their careers, and we really want to make them feel special.”
Speaking of careers, Nelms’ path to her current role as director of sports for the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission was not a straight line. After attending Captain Shreve High School, Nelms graduated from Northwestern State University, where she majored in psychology and addiction studies. But even before she finished college, Nelms knew she wasn’t a good fit for what would be required to succeed in her field of interest.
“I really wanted to be an addictions counselor, but honestly, I think I was just too emotional. I would get connected with people. I really like to help people. I was like, ‘Wow, I don’t think this is something emotionally I would be able to do.’ They put you in situations where you have to counsel people and in real-life situations. It was really tough. You don’t realize what a lot of people go through.”
After working in human resources and helping put on events at the Shreveport Convention Center and Municipal Auditorium, Nelms now leads the effort to bring sporting events to our area. Because she is from Shreveport, Nelms’ work is more than a job.
“Shreveport and Bossier have so much potential. It’s already a great place to live – affordable to live. It can be so much better, so it’s really that which drives me because I love (the area). It’s where I’m from, and where I want to raise my own family.”
Sara’s experience led to her being chosen to organize this year’s 40 Under Forty event.
“Sara was elected as 40 Under Forty chair with her extraordinary leadership and event planning skills in consideration,” said Liz Chreene, executive committee chair for the Young Professionals Initiative of Northwest Louisiana, a program of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “Sara is a natural fit for this role and has been working all year through nominations, selection and event planning to create a memorable experience for the 2023 40 Under Forty class.”
While learning about the nominees, Nelms noticed they have a common characteristic.
“They all have so much drive. They’re all very different. They come from different backgrounds. They do different things. They all have something different that drives them and motivates them. I think that’s really, really special.”
As for one day being a 40 Under Forty nominee, Nelms has Chreene’s support.
“While official class selection is up to a committee, Sara is absolutely an impressive candidate for 40 Under Forty. Her professional achievements, leadership experience, involvement and philanthropic service, as well as advocacy for our community, make her an ideal candidate, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!”